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The best time to perform this is when the plants are in full bloom, or just past.  The shoots of the plants that around the bottom, need to be brought down to the ground, and when rooted, seprated from the parent plant. The tools you will need include a sharp, small knife, notched pegs in quanitiy, and some finely sifted soil. The best day to this is on a cloudy, dull day. If the plants are in pots, they can be layered in any weather. 

Trim the leaves off the bottom of the shoot, leaving only the two upper most leaves on. Trim the lower leaves off every shoot before layering one, because once a layer is tongued, it can be easily broken off. When this is done, turn the shoot up, and pass the knife blade through the third joint upward, finidhing just below it. Take a hooked peg; thrust it into the soil, catching hold by the hook, of the layer as it descends, and press gently into the soil. 

Repeat this process until each shoot has been layered. Cover them all in the sifted soil mould about three quarters of an inch deep. Give a slight watering, and you are done! Keep watering them until they are rooted, which should take roughly a month to six weeks. After they are rooted you can put them into five inch pots, one pair in each. If your layers are small, you can place three in one pot. 

Place them under glass once potted, on a cold frame, where they can get plenty of air in mild weather. Be sure they are sheltered from frost. Little water will be needed during the winter months, and the air in the frames should be as dry as possible. If it does get damp, on a nice day, take the plants out, and coat a fine dry coal ash over the surface. Place the plants back into the pit. 

Carnations work best for this mode. You will need the convenience of a hot bed. This method is not as safe as layering the plants, but when there are large shoots that need layers, and you want a large propagation, piping is a solution. 

To do this you will cut off the lower part of the shoot, up to the third joint, and trim off the lowest pair of leaves. Pass the knife just through the joint. Prepare a pit by filling it with compost up to one inch of the top, and fill that one inch with silver sand. Water just enough to make it firm. Insert the piping all around it, close to the sides of the pot, and place the pot in a gentle hot-bed, shaded from the sun. Be sure to watch them daily, and supply with water when the sand becomes dry. Perhaps you can add a water fountain close by so residual splash will help to keep the sand sufficiently wet. 

When rooted they will send up fresh leaves. At this point you can pot them in pairs, the same way you would for layering.